Calling all entrepreneurs: Are you seeking capital to fund your project? “Grow with the crowd”!

Five things we learned from Accelerate Caribbean’s webinar on crowdfunding

By Tassia Stewart on September 26, 2015

‘Chart your own path!’ ‘Don’t follow company!’ as we say in the Caribbean. Who hasn’t been taught to be different, innovative, to differentiate from the crowd?

Yet what about raising your game thanks to the crowd? Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular method of raising capital for your business and projects by engaging your entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people (a crowd), typically via the internet. Your success depends on your ability to build popularity, and to act as an inspirational entrepreneur enticing the stakeholders’ community to support your project.

Cecile Watson, CEO of Pitch and Choose, Main Speaker, Accelerate Caribbean Crowdfunding Webinar Ms. A, Cecile Watson[1], the Caribbean’s own crowdfunding evangelist, encouraged us to go with the crowd, as she led Accelerate Caribbean’s webinar ‘How to win at crowdfunding’ on Wednesday September 16, 2015. This webinar was the first in a four-part series put on by Accelerate Caribbean to engage various topics of interest to entrepreneurs over the next 12 months.

Sixty-six captivated participants from across the entire Caribbean entrepreneurial community joined the webinar and Cecile did a phenomenal job explaining the ins and outs of crowd-funding as a means of raising capital.

Here are five takeaways that could help you boost your project:

  1. Crowdfunding works! Yes! From the Jamaican bobsleigh team raising funds for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, to popular broadcaster Patria-Kaye Aarons raising capital for her candy company, Sweetie, crowdfunding is a proven and realistic way to raise funds for your business venture or project.
  1. Be ready to pitch! Just as you would make a pitch to angel investors in a boardroom, you should be prepared to tell the crowd why you need their hard-earned money and what you will do with it.
  1. Female Business leaders are almost 10 times more successful in raising capital with online platforms than with traditional banks and five times more successful compared to their venture capital investments. Wow, crowdfunding is providing better options for women entrepreneurs. How encouraging!
  1. All Crowdfunding platforms and campaigns are not the same! Under ‘keep it all’ campaigns, all pledged funds are handed over to the project whilst under ‘all or nothing’ campaigns the project will only get the funds if a pre-set funding goal is met. Funding models can additionally vary, from lending based models to donations based, equity based and rewards based models. The diversity of existing strategies and opportunities require entrepreneurs to conduct research and wisely choose the approach that best matches their objectives!
  1. You cannot run a successful crowdfunding campaign without Social Media! Social Media is how entrepreneurs find and connect with potential friends and investors and measure the potential reach of their business. So engage in the online world and build your crowd from now!

Good luck to our innovators and entrepreneurs working to pitch their crowdfunding campaigns to grow their businesses and create homegrown jobs and opportunities. Follow this link to revisit Cecile’s crowdfunding webinar.

xxx

Accelerate Caribbean is a Business Incubation and Training program designed by infoDev (the World Bank Group) as part of its Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), funded by the Government of Canada. The project is implemented by IMC Worldwide Ltd in partnership with Koltai & Co, UWI Consulting, and BCSI, with a focus on increasing business enablers’ capacity to innovate and scale-up their service offering to entrepreneurs through a tailored package of training and mentorship.

IMC Worldwide is a UK based international development consultancy with over 50 years’ experience managing complex programs addressing the world’s foremost international development challenges.

[1]Cecile Watson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pitch & Choose, the Caribbean’s first native crowdfunding platform. Her impressive career in business and finance informed her crowdfunding experience which has taken her from the Caribbean to North America, Africa and back.

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